Planet Princeton

Judge Rejects Princeton University’s Request to Throw Out Save the Dinky Lawsuit

A temporary station will be built about a quarter mile south of the existing Dinky station.

A judge has ruled that the citizen group Save the Dinky and several Princeton residents have standing in a lawsuit challenging Princeton University’s contract with NJ Transit to relocate the Dinky station.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Paul Innes this afternoon rejected Princeton University’s request for summary judgment in a lawsuit that challenges the 1984 contract between the university and NJ Transit regarding the Dinky station move.

Lawyers for Princeton University argued that the residents and citizen group have have no legal standing in the case and no right to control the location of rail service provided by NJ Transit.

“Plaintiffs, who are objectors to the University’s project and who are attempting to thwart the development on multiple fronts, claim they have the right to disagree with the two parties to the agreement, the University and NJ Transit, and have this court impose plaintiffs’ reading of the contract on those parties,” reads the legal brief filed by lawyers representing the university. “The plaintiffs, however, were neither parties to the agreement, nor are they third party beneficiaries and therefore have no right or standing to challenge the intent of the parties to the contract, to enforce the contract, or to have this Court impose their interpretation of the contract on the parties to the Agreement. The law is settled and clear. One who is not a party to a contract but merely benefits from it (as the plaintiffs contend they do in this case) does not have standing to sue to enforce the contract.”

Princeton lawyer Bruce Afran, who represents Save the Dinky, argued that lawyers for the university are misreading the law and that the 1984 agreement was created for the purpose of benefiting rail users who use the Dinky line. “NJ Transit is a public corporation whose sole authorized purpose is to provide a direct benefit to commuters who use mass transit,” reads Afran’s brief in opposition to the request for summary judgment.

Innes held that Princeton train commuters have standing to challenge the University’s attempt to move the 150 year old train service  and that there are factual issues as to whether or not the Dinky can be legally moved under the university’s 1984 contract with the State. The Court dismissed a claim concerning whether the easement in the University’s deed could be enforced by members of the public.

A hearing is scheduled for July  22 to set a trial date for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by Save the Dinky and several residents is one of a a handful lawsuits filed by residents opposing the station move that is part of the university’s $300 million arts an transit project.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

10 comments

  • Again, it’s 300 YARDS, no 300 feet.
    I can tell by your writing style and your AOL speak that you’re an older, and have not kept in touch with technology.
    Well, let me put it in terms you can understand “u need 2 educate urself abt this important issue”.

  • ok, Rob, my understanding is it’s 300 YARDS and not 300 feet. Have you ever walked 300 yards uphill carrying a briefcase, plus the addition 1 mile to my house, after a long work week?

    only someone who does not need to use the dinky could have such a cavalier attitude. for that matter, how did the Dinky already get so far from the center of town? A few hundred yards at a time.

  • This is great news for the entire Princeton community. Anyone who understands the value of mass transit and has even casually followed the effects of decreasing accessibility by making it a longer walk knows that ridership is always negatively impacted, often to the point of eliminating the mass transit option altogether. I am grateful for everyone who has kept working on behalf of preserving our current access to the Dinky. I intend to back that up with another contribution to the Save the Dinky fund and I encourage others to do the same. Princeton’s viability in the future may very well depend on efforts like these.

  • Huh? You must own a gas station, sell asphalt to NJDOT, or enjoy listening to the radio in traffic.

  • I guess you’re not a commuter who walks or drives to the Dinky. For you, it’s easy to say STFU. For us, it’s giving up our precious time.

  • Princeton residents have WAY 2 much time on their hands! Save the Dinky? Really? It’s being moved 300ft. What’s to save? STFU and find something meaningful to spend your money on!

  • Am I the only one who understands that “benefits” and “affects” have the same meaning?

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